Interviews are a crucial part of the admission process at your independent or private school.
Granted, you can get a fairly clear understanding of a candidate’s academic capabilities and skills through their transcripts, test scores, and essays. However, what these application materials don’t provide is human connection.
It’s hard to uncover a student’s personality or true character by simply reviewing numbers and scores. Consequently, your admission interviews provide an indispensable opportunity to get to know each student as a person, rather than simply data on a page. The conversations you have allow you to build deeper relationships with candidates and their families. It also gives them an opportunity to learn more about your school and what it has to offer.
Of course, the amount of information you can glean and the impression you leave on prospective students depends on the quality of your admissions interview process. If you’re stuck in a rut and using the same scripted and mundane process your department has used for years, maybe it’s time to switch things up and revamp the way you view this step of the admission process.
Here are a few tips to help you refine the interview process at your private school:
6 Tips to Help Improve Your Admission Interview Process
Tip #1: Build your questions to uncover core strengths you’re evaluating
By building your questions around the specific core strengths you’re evaluating in potential students, you can rate or score the strengths for each candidate. This can help remove some of the bias or emotion you may feel so you can compare and contrast candidates based on their fit for your school.
Tip #2: Try to keep it fresh
No two interviewees are the same. So it’s helpful to create a lengthy list of interview questions and change it up or switch out topics as the interview progresses. Be sure to ask follow-up questions to help candidates elaborate on specific points.
Tip #3: Leverage interviews as relationship-building opportunities
These conversations offer you and your team an excellent opportunity to gather information that could aid in future personalization efforts or communication plans. For example, if a student mentions they are interested in soccer, make a note to send them tickets to your school’s next game.
Tip #4: Don’t hold interviews in a silo
Take time to crowdsource interview questions from other staff members. Find out what teachers and administrators would like to know and weave those questions into your discussions.
Tip #5: Use interviews to help you build personas
In some cases, you may notice similar personality characteristics, interests, or common answers among multiple students. You can use these trends to inform and create your school’s personas. These personas will help you craft better-tailored lead nurturing campaigns.
Tip #6: Remember, it’s a two-way decision
While you’re evaluating students, there’s a good chance they (and their families) are assessing you and your school, too. That’s why it’s essential you focus on families rather than directing all questions toward the student. Additionally, while there are a few important questions you need to prioritize during the admissions interview, and a few key points you’ll want to address, strive to let conversations flow naturally. And ultimately, aim to keep the experience as positive and comfortable as possible.
Revamping your admission interview process, and your perspective can lead to more engaging conversations and deeper relationships. Interviews can provide clarity for your admission decisions, or which students your school should accept. On top of that, it can make a difference in a family or student’s ultimate decision to attend your school. The end result is hand-selected, best-fit, enrolled students who love and are committed to your school.
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